Anti-Inversion Regulations Announced

In the last week of September, the U.S. Treasury submitted proposed regulations to the White House Office of Management and Budget to prevent U.S. companies from engaging in so-called “earning stripping”. This practice consists of a foreign controlled-domestic company making loans to its U.S. subsidiary with purposes of accruing deductible interests from its overall earnings. In so doing, the U.S. entity creates a tax expense that reduces its income tax base and shifts its earnings overseas.

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EU Opens In-Depth Antitrust Review of Merger between London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Börse

European antitrust regulators announced on September 28, 2016 that they would open an in-depth investigation into the proposed all-stock merger between the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Deutsche Börse (DB). If the merger goes ahead, LSE shareholders will own 45.6% of the new holding company with the rest being held by DB shareholders. The $28 billion deal was first discussed in May 2000, but the parties didn’t reach a final agreement until March of this year. Shareholders from both exchanges approved the deal in July. The deal is expected to produce £215 million in annual cost savings over five years.

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Vitamin C Antitrust Judgment Overturned

A recent ruling of United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in an antitrust case has posed challenges for plaintiffs in current and future cases.

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CMS Restricts Arbitration Clauses in Nursing Homes

On October 4, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued new regulations, providing the first major reform to nursing homes since 1991. The regulations include a ban on pre-dispute arbitration clauses in resident contracts. The regulations, which apply to long-term care facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid, may affect as many as 1.5 million residents in over 15,000 long-term care facilities.

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The Theory of the SEC’s Case Against Leon Cooperman

On September 21, 2016, the Securities & Exchange Commission filed a complaint alleging Leon G. Cooperman, the billionaire hedge fund manager of Omega Advisors, “generated significant illegal profits” due to insider trading. The trading arose when Cooperman purchased additional securities in Atlas Pipeline Partners, a company in the Omega Advisor portfolio, after receiving information that Atlas intended to sell a large portion of its assets. When Atlas announced the sale, its stock price jumped 31%. The SEC alleges that Cooperman agreed to keep the information confidential, and that by trading on it, he violated insider trading laws.

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Airbnb Fights New Law on Short-Term Rentals in New York

On October 21, 2016, Airbnb launched a legal battle in the Southern District of New York against the Mayor of New York City, the City of New York, and the state attorney general after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that possesses the potential to significantly impact the company. Airbnb provides an online platform for residential hosts to directly advertise rental listings for their properties and for guests to make reservations for these properties. Airbnb gains revenue by charging service fees on hosts and guests for the booking process. Airbnb asserts that it helps the middle class by providing a supplemental source of income that can be gained from renting out properties via this online platform.

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Judge Rules in Favor of Fannie and Freddie Investors in Government Battle

On October 3, 2016, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac investors received good news in their suit against the United States over its seizing of company profits. After reviewing 56 documents that had been deemed privileged by the government, Federal Claims Court Judge Margaret M. Sweeney ruled that the government had improperly withheld 52 of the documents and ordered their release. This is a breakthrough for plaintiffs in what has been an unusually secretive case, shrouded by sealed depositions and claims of presidential privilege.

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Tech Giants Invest in Local Cloud Infrastructure to Build Credibility in Europe

Silicon Valley’s tech giants, including Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, have recently invested billions of dollars into Europe’s cloud market. Amazon, already running data centers in Germany, is planning on opening additional centers in France and Great Britain. Google is also opening a new data center in the Netherlands, adding to its already existing centers in Finland and Belgium. Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft are also working on similar projects. In doing so, these tech giants foster benefits for both themselves, their European customers, and the economies of European nations.

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Snapchat Poised for IPO in 2017

Everyone’s favorite message disappearing app is reportedly preparing the paperwork to file an IPO as early as next March. Snap Inc., parent company of Snapchat, received a valuation of $17.8 billion in May, but a public offering next year could potentially price the company at $25 billion or more.

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